UAE-Bahrain nanosatellite Light-1 launched from International Space Station
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UAE-Bahrain nanosatellite Light-1 launched from International Space Station

UAE-Bahrain nanosatellite Light-1 launched from International Space Station

The Light-1 CubeSat is the region’s first scientific mission to monitor and study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes from thunderstorms and lightning

Light-1 CubeSat

The UAE-Bahraini Light-1 CubeSat was successfully launched into orbit from the International Space Station, in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The Light-1 CubeSat represents is the region’s first scientific mission to monitor and study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) from thunderstorms and lightning. JAXA coordinated the launch from the Tsukuba Space Centre (TKSC) in Japan. Data gathered from the nanosatellite will be shared with research centres around the world.

The nanosatellite is a joint collaboration between the UAE Space Agency, Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi.

The team that worked on the design and development of Light-1 bus consists of 22 university students from Khalifa University including nine Bahrainis, 10 Emiratis, and three international students, advised by Dr. Firas Jarrar, manager at Yahsat Space Lab.

Read: Abu Dhabi-based Yahsat wins Dhs24m contract to build naval satcom systems

The NYU Abu Dhabi team of five Emirati students and five international students meanwhile worked on the development of the payload called Rapid Acquisition Atmospheric Detector (RAAD – Arabic for ‘thunder’), was advised by Dr. Francesco Arneodo, programme head of Physics, and Dr. Mallory Roberts, Professor of Physics.

The impact of high-energy gamma-ray emissions on the atmosphere, air traffic and human health, especially flight crews, will be studied by Light-1. These rays can penetrate aircraft structures, and therefore the data of Light-1 will improve understanding related to radiation exposure.

“The UAE has made massive strides in its space journey over the past few years, and the successful deployment of our Light-1 nanosatellite into orbit is a major milestone. Coming close on our recent success with the Emirates Mars Mission, and our first space astronaut Hazza AlMansouri’s journey to the International Space Station, this is an endorsement of our achievements in the cosmos,” said Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, director general of UAE Space Agency.

In another feat for the UAE’s space ambitions, in January, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) on launched the DEWA-SAT 1 nanosatellite in collaboration with NanoAvionics. It became the world’s first utility to use a nanosatellite to improve the maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks.

Read: Video: DEWA launches nanosatellite to aid network planning and maintenance in UAE

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